Spectacular scenery, whitewater rafting, relaxing hot springs, hiking across glaciers, and amazing rock climbing are just some of the many adventures awaiting you in Banff National Park. The Banff-Lake Louise area stakes its claim to some of the most gorgeous surroundings not only in North America, but also the world! While you are visiting this remarkable region there are numerous lodging opportunities that are as fabulous as panoramas. Whether you want extreme opulence or a luxurious log cabin, you will find it here in the Banff National Park.
There are few places in the world that can offer as majestic a setting as Banff. Through the center of town courses the mighty Bow River courses, while colossal mountains skirt Banff’s boundaries. Mount Rundle, a jagged mountain that appears as if it has somehow tipped over on its side, lies off to the south; Mount Cascade towers over downtown as if it is seated at the head of the table to the north, while all around stony summits fill the sky.
For more than a century this small town in the midst of majesty has been cashing in on its splendor. The Canadian Pacific Railroad built the Banff Springs Hotel in 1888 as a destination resort- the philosophy was that if they couldn’t export the scenery, they would import the tourists. Created with a vision for luxury, the Banff Springs today remains a pinnacle of opulence amid pristine wilderness. In addition, they offer the ultimate in indulgence with their 38,000 square foot spa that presents many opportunities for pampering and reflection.
While the setting hasn’t changed since this jewel was first discovered, the town surely has. Elite boutiques line the streets; hip bistros trickle out onto the sidewalks; and bus after bus filled with tourists from around the world clog the streets. No longer the pastoral village that once captivated developers, this busy “village” has now become a vital and bustling cosmopolitan center in the summer.
As the city has grown to accommodate the ever-increasing amount of visitors, so have the number of wonderful lodging opportunities. Though the Banff Springs was the original, setting the standard for luxury, others have followed and risen to the challenge. Buffalo Mountain Lodge is a tribute to old-world craftsmanship, with its cherry, pine and bent willow furnishings and the copper and glass fixtures that grace the interior. The rooms are extremely cozy, complete with fireplaces and feather pillows and duvets, and are perfect for cuddling up in after dining on the amazing native cuisine complemented with an offering from Buffalo Mountain’s award-winning wine list.
One of the newest hotels in Banff is the boutique style Banff Avenue Inn. The rooms here are large and luxurious and offer gas fireplaces, Jacuzzis and hardwood furniture. This non-smoking property includes a continental mountain breakfast with each room, and some of the suites here are larger than most apartments! Situated on the main thoroughfare, just two blocks from boutiques, galleries, and all of the delights in this cosmopolitan arena, the Banff Avenue Inn provides mountain charm with modern conveniences and personal service.
For a lavish lodge that towers over the city, nestled away on the side of Sulphur Mountain, is the Rimrock Resort Hotel. Your expectations are certain to be exceeded at every turn here, from the breathtaking views to the full service spa; your stay will bring beautiful memories. They have gourmet cuisine, two sommeliers, a Jazz and Martini lounge, and twenty-four hour room service. And if you are feeling particularly decadent, they offer “Grandview” rooms that give new meaning to luxury accommodations! And the best part of this delightful resort is that is adjacent to the world-famous hot springs!
Another spectacular creation spawned by the Canadian Pacific is the Storm Mountain Lodge. Located between Banff and Lake Louise, this lodge offers amazing rustic cabins that were constructed in 1922, complete with fireplaces, clawfoot tubs, and cozy duvets. And how fabulous to wake up to fresh baked pastries and homemade preserves in the fresh mountain air! For dinner you will experience authentic Canadian cuisine like buffalo and wild salmon, and their wine list only offers the finest in carefully selected Canadian vintages.
Emerald-green Lake Louise, northwest of Banff and surrounded by snowcapped peaks, is one of the most prominently stunning features in a park renowned for its scenery. And though the lake may be impressive, just as many people traverse the winding road to Lake Louise to see its most illustrious resort, the Chateau Lake Louise. Also built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, the Chateau is, along with the Banff Springs Hotel, one of the most renowned hotels in Canada. More than just accommodations, this is a castle straight out of a fairy-tale. Referred to as “The Diamond in the Wilderness”, it is an opulent haven that has hosted such infamous guests as Douglas Fairbanks, Marilyn Monroe, and Alfred Hitchcock. This hub of recreation, dining, shopping, and entertainment offers tantalizing cuisine in multiple venues, indulgent spa pampering, an extensive selection of boutiques, and so much more!
Just outside of Lake Louise is one of the best kept secrets in the Canadian Rockies, the Baker Creek Chalets. The cozy log chalets and romantic lodge Jacuzzi suites with fireplaces and kitchens have absolute “wow” factor and the Baker Creek Bistro combines Canadian food with French and Italian influences for what they term as “Canadian Comfort Food”. Not only will you find breathtaking vistas from this creekside retreat, but you will also receive personalized service and attention to every detail to make your stay here a memorable one.
In case you’re curious, there’s a reason the water in Lake Louise is so green: The stream water that cascades into the lake is filled with minerals, worn away by the glaciers that overlook the lake. This glacial powder refracts sunlight, creating vivid colors. The gentle Lakeshore Trail here follows the northern shore to the end of Lake Louise. If you’re looking for more of a work out and even more amazing views, continue on the trail as it begins to climb-just look out for all of the bees! Now called the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, it passes a teahouse, and is open in summer only, on its way to a remarkable viewpoint over Victoria Glacier and Lake Louise. And don’t be surprised to see several small avalanches on the surrounding glaciers – but don’t fret, you are out of the line of fire from your vantage point!
More fabulous chalets can be found at Castle Mountain. Here you’ll find chalets and cottages equipped with fireplaces, modern facilities, Jacuzzis, kitchens and more. And the staff here truly takes pride in the lodgings at Castle Mountain, as is evidenced by their winning the Alberta “Good Housekeeping Award” for more than ten years. The resort amenities also include a quaint turn-of-the century country store, exercise facility, and steam room. Cabins also have decks equipped with lounge chairs to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Moraine Lake Lodge offers world-class facilities and a staff to match! Every room and cabin has an outdoor deck, custom designed, handcrafted log furniture, and no televisions or telephones in any of the rooms-to keep with the idea of a true mountain retreat. The elegant dining here however, is most decidedly upscale, offering such gourmet signature delights as buffalo carpacchio with roasted pine nuts and deer tenderloin with red currants and juniper berries. The have an on-staff naturalist for guided hikes and they will start your day off right with fresh baked pastries. When the day is done you can cuddle up during the cool nights under the luxurious down comforters or take a hot bath in one of the soaker tubs.
Banff National Park is the Jewel of the Rockies and offers many lodging opportunities as spectacular as the scenery. The Canadian Pacific recognized the potential of this region and began the development of luxury accommodationsÃ¢Â?Â¦the rest is history. Whether you want a private log cabin or an illustrious Hollywood hideaway, you will find numerous remarkable options for your “home away from home” here in the pristine wilderness. Magnificent vistas, luminous turquoise waters, and the best that nature has to offer, all combined with the best that any resort or lodge could offerÃ¢Â?Â¦it doesn’t get any better than Banff!